Friday, April 17, 2015

On a Dark Road with No Headlights

If anyone had asked me what it was like to write the tenth book in a series before I was published, I would have probably answered that it would be easy. I would imagine that all you had to do was sit down and let the words flow from your fingers and viola, another book. Too bad it isn’t true, at least for me.

For about the last week, writing has been like what I posted on FaceBook. Like driving a car with no headlights down a dark road. Even with a synopsis, I seemed lost and filled with self doubt. Everything I wrote seemed bad and I was afraid so boring it would be a substitute for a sleeping pill. The worst was the panicky feeling that whatever talent I had to write the other books had left me. I couldn’t write a page let alone the rest of the book. I half expected my character Molly to put her hand on her hip, turn and look at me and say “would you please get on with it. I have a crime to solve.”

Yesterday was the worst. I suppose if I was a drinker, it would have been time to have a belt of whiskey. Instead, I just had a belt of strawberry flavored sparkling water and stayed glued to my seat. Just keep going I told myself. Write anything, including little asides to myself (which will be erased during rewrite). Just put words on the page.

It felt like pushing a boulder up an incline. I was tempted to run away from my computer, but I stuck out the rising panic that what I was writing made no sense. Then something happened. I don’t remember when or how, but it got easier. I lost track of time, which is another way of saying I got into the flow. I hadn’t been able to turn on the words and now I couldn’t turn them off. I told myself I would just write another paragraph and it was better to stop in a place that would be easy to pick up later. Then just one more sentence. I looked out the window and it was dark.

I’m sure what I wrote will need a lot of work, but I also know it probably isn’t as bad as I imagine. Is there any chance that by the eleventh book in the series, it will be easier?

In the meantime my website is back up, but there are still some small issues. My web guy really got it back up quickly. These days, your lost without a website. I don’t know. All this was supposed to make things easier, but sometimes it seems like a fever dream trying to keep up with everything. I think I need another belt of strawberry sparkling water.


Planner said...

Who knew strawberry sparkling water was so powerful?

I would think that all writers have periods of writer's block and self-doubt. I'm glad you found your way over the hump.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Congrats on writing your tenth book in the series, Betty, even though it's a challenge. But I'm sure it's one you'll meet--and for number eleven, too!

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, the strawberry sparkling water is great. It's from Whole Foods.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, how time flies. It seems like yesterday when we shared a room at Malice and the crochet series was still a dream.

Miriam Lubet said...

Thank you for sharing the trials and tribulations of being a writer. All that said, writers are my rock stars. I admire what you do and appreciate all the effort you put into it whether the stalls or the flows. I'm just a reader but I surely have the easier task.

Miriam Lubet said...

I meant "whether it's the stalls or the flows".

Betty Hechtman said...

Miriam, hearing from someone like you makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for your appreciation.